Welcome back to 5 Days of Great Family Games!
Games of strategy and logic for the whole family
I love good strategy games. They are also some of the most well-loved games in our home, especially for our boys. There are so many educational benefits to logic and strategy games, such as critical thinking skills, improved concentration and attention, and math skills, to name a few. We make them a regular part of our week and often begin a school day with a game or two.
- Chess- When I was three years old, my dad taught me to play chess. Unlike other parents teaching difficult games to young, precocious children, he didn’t let me win. Finally, when I started having nightmares about losing, my mom convinced him to go easier on me. And yes, with that background it’s no wonder I’m still competitive, but I now have a twelve-year-old that can sometimes beat me. Chess is a staple in our home (even the 5-year-old is pretty good), and it is probably taken out at least a couple of times a day for a quick game.
- Guess Who?- This is also a two person game, but one that is shorter and easier. The two game boards are filled with pictures of various people, with different physical characteristics. Your job is to guess the character your opponent has before he guesses yours, by asking key yes-or-no questions. For example, if you ask, “Does your person have brown hair?” and the answer is “no” then you can rule out all of the brown-haired people. It’s a great introduction to logical thinking.
- Castle Keep- This simple-to-learn building game challenges players to either build onto a castle of their own, or tear down an opponent’s castle with each turn. It’s not always the easiest choice to make! You can win with either action, so foresight and strategy is needed. The little pieces/cards are pleasing to the eye and the perfect size for little hands.
- Stratego- This knights and dragons fantasy game is a two player game that requires players to set up their pieces in a very well-thought-out and strategic way in order to protect their “flag”. Our boys love this game, and they’ve improved so much in their thinking skills simply by coming up with ways to better set up their pieces, not to mention the actual movement of the pieces to attack and defend. There are differing levels of play, the most elaborate of which has each piece performing special powers and actions. I get confused, but the kids love it!
- Professor Layton- My oldest son has recently become enamored with these Nintendo DS critical thinking puzzle games. Even though they are single player games, I included this series because of the great skill-building they achieve. The virtual world of Professor Layton challenges the player to solve mysteries along with the professor by finding and completing logic puzzles. I’ve played these myself on occasion and they are definitely brain-busting!
- Settlers of Catan- This game, which we’ve had since Christmas of last year, is definitely my new favorite strategy game. I love the challenge of choosing your areas to settle down and building an empire by trading and making wise choices with your resources. It’s a great tangential lesson in supply-and-demand economics too! This game is very involved, but our five- and six-year-olds can play with some help, or at least be on someone’s “team”. The game is for 3-4 players in its original form and takes up to an hour and a half to play. You can purchase extension sets to play with up to six players and there are more ways to add to Catan with differently-themed expansion sets as well.
What are your favorite strategy games?
Come visit all of the above amazing ladies to learn from and share with them during this five-day series! The series is sponsored by the Beech Retreat, a wonderful new homeschool bloggers conference on a little island in sunny Florida!